COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Requirements: Navigating a Complex and Changing Legal Landscape

Masked employees working

As the pandemic continues, requirements for COVID-19 testing and vaccination tracking are continuing to evolve, challenging employers with an even more complex environment to navigate.

In November 2021, OSHA posted an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to implement a COVID-19 vaccination or testing policy and obtain and track proof of vaccination and testing for each employee. Legal challenges quickly followed, ultimately culminating on January 13th, when the Supreme Court of the United States issued a nationwide stay of enforcement, meaning employers were not required to comply while litigation continued. OSHA has since withdrawn the vaccine or testing ETS effective January 26, 2022, discontinuing ongoing appeals and litigation. However, employers are still required to comply with many extensive and varied state and local requirements. In addition, on January 13th the CMS mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers was upheld, except for those in Texas. On January 19th it became enforceable nationwide.

Here’s what employers should know based on recent developments:

  • Affected healthcare workers needed to comply with the CMS mandate by January 27th (Phase 1) and February 28th (Phase 2). See exceptions to this timeline below:
  • The deadlines for healthcare workers in the following states were extended to February 14th (Phase 1) and March 15th (Phase 2): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
  • The deadlines for Texas are February 22nd (Phase 1) and March 21st (Phase 2).
  • Employers’ corporate vaccination and testing policies were not impacted by the January 26th developments, with employers able to make individual decisions regarding company-specific vaccination and testing requirements.
  • State and local laws were not affected by the January 26th developments and remain in effect. Learn more about state and local requirements here.

With employers individually tasked with the responsibility of keeping employees safe at work while navigating and meeting the requirements of complex state and local laws, having a flexible toolset that can keep up with these fast-paced legislative changes has become an imperative.

Simplifying Vaccination and Test Tracking for Employers

To streamline vaccination and test tracking for employers in this intricate and evolving environment, bswift teamed up with parent company CVS Health, who has been at the forefront of testing and vaccine administration since day one, to develop and implement a COVID-19 vaccine and testing confirmation solution. bswift Attest collects the sensitive COVID-19 vaccination and test result data from employees using bswift’s nimble toolset and expert delivery. Using OCR technology, the solution records, reviews, and reports out each employee’s COVID-19 vaccine and/or test result status and is simple and intuitive to use. Individual states have their own requirements around reporting, resulting in additional complexity for employers. With bswift Attest, employers can have the data they need at their fingertips to fulfill these requirements, simplifying another layer of this process for them.

In a world where 82% of employers have become more focused on cybersecurity, the bswift Attest solution is secure.* As part of the CVS Health family of companies, bswift leverages the data security investment and infrastructure of a Fortune 4 company, giving employers peace of mind that their employees’ vaccine and testing data will be safeguarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Employers are highly encouraged to consult their compliance and legal teams as they try to understand the nuances of these laws and make any changes to their individual vaccination and testing requirements. For the latest information regarding the mandates, please visit cms.gov and individual state websites.

To learn more about getting started with bswift Attest, please contact us.

*Source: A study commissioned by Forrester Consulting on behalf of bswift, March 2021

bswift is not responsible or liable for the accuracy, content completeness, or legality of the information entered or uploaded into the bswift Attest solution. bswift is part of the CVS Health family of companies.

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